' ' Cinema Romantico: 10 Made For TV Christmas Movies To Watch This Holiday Season (by synopsis)

Monday, December 02, 2019

10 Made For TV Christmas Movies To Watch This Holiday Season (by synopsis)

Loyal frustrated followers know our annual breakdown of Hallmark Channel Christmas movie synopses has been around a long time. So long, in fact, that in the years since we began this seasonal tradition, Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas has, a la some burgeoning club band, broke, as they say, and become big. Every aggregation farm and content mill has its own listicle involving these synopses now. And that’s fine. Surely Cinema Romantico was not the first. But. Unlike Hallmark, which begins counting down to Christmas in October, and the lists that follow around the same time, our blog honors the holiday rules. My Dad didn’t put up the tree until Thanksgiving weekend and I don’t put up the Hallmark Christmas synopsis post until the Monday after. You’re welcome.

10 Made For TV Christmas Movies To Watch This Holiday Season (by synopsis)

10. A Christmas Duet. “Former couple and pop music duo Averie and Jesse unexpectedly reunite at her inn during the holidays. As they spend time together, they rediscover long-buried feelings and must decide if they are meant to live their lives solo or in harmony together.” LET’S GO!!!!!!!!!!!!

9. A Merry Christmas Match. “A woman spends most of her time working in her mother’s antique shop in a small ski village. One day she meets a man who makes her wonder if she should have left town and followed her dreams.” Do you mean to tell me there is a Hallmark Christmas movie that might end with the main character OUTSIDE the town she grew up in and perhaps even, egads, in the Big City? What a hook! Will watch!

8. Christmas on the Coast (UPtv). “Needing inspiration, hard-hearted New York novelist Dru Cassadine needs to write the ‘novel of her life’ before Christmas is over, but her newest romance story may just star her and the most eligible bachelor in her hometown.” I gotta say, it’s pretty on brand for UPtv to envision a New Yorker as “hard-hearted.” I wonder if that heart of hardness will involve eating Avocado toast? Avocados are the fruit of iniquity. That’s not me talking; that’s science. And I wonder if that explains those enigmatic, His Imbecility-ish quotation marks around novel of her life? Too topical? Just wait!

7. Best Christmas Party Ever. “With the holidays approaching, a young party planner arranges a special Christmas party for a New York toy store. When a powerful corporation threatens to shut her down, she decides to follow her heart.” I hope Elizabeth Warren gets a cameo in this one. Like, I hope the young party planner is at a coffee shop and the person in front of her turns around, to-go cup in hand, and, woah there, it’s Senator Warren. And then she gets off a few lines on breaking up Big Tech monopolies before offering piercing romantic advice. I wonder if that would be enough to swing Wisconsin?

6. The Christmas Cottage. “As maid of honor for her best friend Ava, cynical interior designer Lacey is tasked with decorating a honeymoon cottage for the newlyweds. Although it’s a simple enough task, she didn't plan on being snowed in with the bride-to-be’s sexy brother.” Wait, what? Hallmark Holidays are almost Victorian-era affairs where men and women tend to be handsome or beautiful, never sexy. Maybe next year Jennifer Tilly could star in “A Shangri-la Christmas”, sort of a Hallmark Holiday version of “Pleasantville”, ruffling so many genteel feathers, singing a seductive “Santa Baby” to the milquetoast male lead who appears visually uncomfortable. You could air it at 11 PM on the east coast.

Espresso cups?! Why they can only be Rome!
5. Christmas in Rome. “Angela, an American tour guide in Rome, agrees to teach a culture-shocked businessman named Oliver about the heart of Rome at Christmas. In the process, both may find that Rome is where the heart is.” Culture-shocked? What, did he order a latte and discover that’s just a cup of hot milk?

4. Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays. “A free-spirited former Graceland tour guide, awaiting news of her dream museum job, meets a busy single father on a Graceland tour and agrees to be his temporary nanny for the holidays.” As chance would have it, I’ve seen this one! And while, yes, it’s just a Hallmark movie, thank you in advance, I am nonetheless a dutiful critic and must report that not only does “Christmas at Graceland,” betraying its Hallmark roots, seem to think a museum curator is just a fancy expression for hard-charging event-planner, there is virtually zero conflict. There’s more conflict in “Blue Hawaii,” which was pretty breezy, and which you should probably just watch instead. Yes, Kaitlin Doubleday tries to inject a little pep as the free-spirited former Graceland tour guide, but every time she tries to pry at Adrian Grenier’s schedule-obsessed single dad, he hardly pushes back, less high-strung than zoned out, which is “Christmas at Graceland” in capsule, somehow just on in the background even when it’s literally on right in front of you.

3. Holiday Date. “Brooke is dumped right before Christmas and enlists the help of actor Joel to play the role of her boyfriend for the holidays. Brooke had described her ex-boyfriend as ‘Mr. Christmas’ to her family and worries about keeping up the ruse when she discovers Joel is Jewish.” I wonder if next year Holiday Date II will involve a just-dumped woman bringing an actor home for Chanukah who is forced to pose as Mr. Mattathias?

2. Christmas at the Plaza. “When historian Jessica is hired to create The Plaza’s Christmas display, she finds more than facts while teaming up with handsome decorator Nick to bring the display to life.” Wait, wait, wait. Is this Hallmark’s “Sliding Doors” scenario for my own life?

1. Christmas Reservations (Lifetime). “The event coordinator at the Treeline Ski Resort plans every event and keeps all the guests happy. But when her widowed college sweetheart and his two children check in, she discovers she has her own reservations about life and love.” Hallmark has “Check Inn to Christmas”, yes, and “Write Before Christmas”, I know, though, oddly, they fell down on the job with Alicia Witt’s annual holiday offering where she plays a country music star named Melody Jones by failing to incorporate an obvious melody pun into the movie title. But, the G.O.A.T (Melissa Joan Hart) is the G.O.A.T for a reason those puns can’t compete with this one and neither can the synopses. Lifetime wins again. Up your game for 2020, Hallmark.

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